Edward Albee, 1928 – 2016

“You’ll read about it in the papers tomorrow, if you don’t see it on your TV tonight.” – Edward Albee has passed away.

On the death of Tony-Award winning playwright Edward Albee, the Program in Educational Theatre salutes this giant of the American Theatre who last spoke at the historic Provincetown Playhouse (now owned and run by NYU) in 2010 just after a multi-million dollar refurbishment. Albee had a long history with the Provincetown, as it was the site of the long running production of his first success, The Zoo Story, in 1960 when it appeared on a double-bill with Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Edward Albee, photographed outside of the Provincetown Playhouse during the run of his play, "The Zoo Story," in 1960

Video from the 2010 re-opening of the Provincetown Playhouse event, which featured Albee along with Obie Award winner and founder of the Living Theatre Judith Malina, and director of the archives of La Mama Experimental Theater Ozzie Rodriguez, in discussion with Village Voice theatre critic Michael Feingold can be accessed here:

http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2010/december/edward-albee-judith-malina-ozzie-rodriguez-in-conversation-with-michael-feingold-sun-dec-19-7pm-at-provincetown-playhouse.html

In Real Time: Educational Theatre Presents Six Original, Student-Directed Plays

In Real Time, a premiere performance of six new short plays written by NYU Steinhardt faculty member Joe Salvatore, will be presented by the NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre February 27-March 8, 2015. Each play is directed by students, working closely with Salvatore and 14 student actors.

educational-theater-presents-six-original-student-directed-plays-feb-27-march-8

The six short plays that make up In Real Time come from a series of eighteen plays that Salvatore wrote in 2012. Three of the plays were subsequently developed as part of a Writers Roundtable sponsored by the Program in Educational Theatre during the 2012-13 academic year. Salvatore also taught playwriting workshops to 180 middle school and high school students throughout New York City, whose feedback provided additional insights to develop the plays. Many of those students will attend the show in special school matinee performances on March 2 and March 6 at 10 a.m.

In Real Time features scenic design by Andy Hall, lighting design by Emily Stork, costume design by Márion Talán, and sound design and composition by Sam Crawford and Zeb Gould. The production stage manager is Talia Krispel, and Keith R. Huff serves as the production’s dramaturg. The directors are NYU Steinhardt students Katie Braun, Elena Stephenson Campbell, Yulissa Hidalgo, Haven Mitchell-Rose, Nick Robertson, and Shanae Sharon. The cast features NYU Steinhardt students Isaiah Bent, Kyla Blocker, Kordell Draper, David Ello, Nicole Gebler, Megan Ibarra, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Alexis Lounsbury, Adam Miller, Charlie Ponty, Sarah Smith, Devin Miranda Weise, Rachel Tuggle Whorton, and Peter Zerneck.

NYU’s production of In Real Time runs February 27-28, March 5-7 at 8pm, and March 1 and 8 at 3pm, at the Provincetown Playhouse (133 MacDougal Street). Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at tickets.nyu.edu or call the box office at 212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

New Plays for Young Audiences: An Extremely Appealing Process

By Blanca Vivancos

When last summer I got the email announcing I was going to be part of the cast of one of the shows at NYU Steinhardt’s New Plays for Young Audiences, I was thrilled. Of course it’s always exciting to get a positive answer after an audition, but in this case there were a few extra reasons why I wanted to be part of that project. For those of you who don’t know how New Plays for Young Audiences works, it is basically a theatre work in progress based on a new play that is still a working draft. During one week, actors, director, and playwright work together to give the play shape, showing the final result to an audience in a staged reading. This process is extremely helpful for the playwright who gets direct feedback from the actors and can adapt the play based on what is actually working or not working on stage. But as I was saying, this process was also extremely appealing for me for several reasons:

First, being an actress, the opportunity to be part of a work in progress is a challenge. Having to build a character based on a text that changes from one day to the next until the very last minute requires flexibility and technique, and there’s never enough of that for an actor, right?

That process becomes even more fulfilling by having the playwright on stage, working with the actors, explaining, listening, and re-writing. That is an amazing experience! How many times, reading a script, I would have paid to have the chance to ask the author, “Why?”  Well, New Plays for Young Audiences gave me that for free!

Third, I would add that being a writer myself, observing the creative process of another playwright always gives food for thought. And having the opportunity to be part of that process, feeding back to the author from the actor’s perspective, is also an experience every playwright should have at least once.

This project also gave me the chance to work under the direction of Deirdre Lavrakas, from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. I guess anyone with some experience in theatre would agree with me about how much we actors learn by watching a director at work. And in this particular case, the lesson was even bigger because the director had to be flexible enough to adapt the show to the new version of the script in every rehearsal!

Probably one of the things that motivated me the most was the outstanding cast I shared the stage with. Most of the actors were related to the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt, so our rehearsals were a reflection of what that program is: a perfectly balanced combination of artistic talent and human touch. It is always a pleasure to work on stage with talented people who know how to listen, share, and create to build the best show possible.

Finally… lets be very honest with this: New Plays for Young Audiences happens at the Provincetown Playhouse in NYC, where Anne Bancroft, Julie Harris, Eugene O’Neill, and Bette Davis launched their careers. And yes, it’s not a bad reward to add my name to that list!

From the Program Director

Welcome back to the spring, 2013 semester.  As students learn to make, perform, evaluate, apply and teach theatre, it is important that they have opportunities to engage with various artistic endeavors that support the rich course work they take in the Program. As such, there are a number of upcoming activities that I’d like to highlight.

For our spring main stage production, The Program in Educational Theatre is pleased to present The Crucible by Arthur Miller in the Provincetown Playhouse.  Directed by Philip Taylor, this promises to be a profoundly significant and contemporary production. The Program recently benefited when Michael Earley, an Arthur Miller scholar and president of Rose Buford College in the UK, offered a fascinating lecture on Miller for the cast and other NYU students.  Many Educational Theatre students are involved in The Crucible, from the actors to the production team, so you won’t want to miss this exciting theatrical event beginning March 1st.  And check out The Crucible blog at:

http://cruciblenyu.tumblr.com/

Our signature outreach effort, Shakespeare to Go (STG) continues to bring their exceptional performances of Hamlet to schools across NYC, providing the opportunity for young people to experience a Shakespeare play that is meaningful and engaging. Under the direction of Daryl Embry with a large cast of talented student-actors, STG continues to provide inspiration to hundreds  of our city’s young people, many of which will see Shakespeare performed for the first time in their lives thanks to the efforts of STG.

Our Program is invested in bringing new works to new audiences as we strive to really identify how the art form shapes and changes the world. To that end, The Writers’ Roundtable emerged in the fall of 2012, focused on investigating the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages in their careers, honing in on the particular experiences of young writers from our Program, who were commissioned by the university to write full-length, original work. As part of our mission to develop and present new theatre, Roundtable members delivered eight brand new plays in the fall semester, including two pieces from former Educational Theatre students Emily Kaczmarek and Tyler Grimes.  Participating playwrights include: Nikkole Salter, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Joe Salvatore and Greg Kotis. Roundtable members will be presenting new work this spring as well, so stay tuned for further information.

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/172915-NYUs-Play-Development-Program-With-Works-by-Greg-Kotis-Steve-Drukman-Tyler-Grimes-Launches-Dec-6

Also this semester, Theatrix! has teamed up with students from the Music Composition program to bring original short plays and musicals to life.  These performances will take place in the Blackbox theatre, March 29 – 31. Be sure to join us, as this is the first endeavor of its kind for our program. We feel certain this festival will defy expectations.

The Program applauds the work of Uproar Theatre Corp, the NYU Steinhardt club formed by Educational Theatre students, devoted to producing new theatrical works as well as sponsoring workshops, panels, and theatrical competitions for the Steinhardt community. Please check out their blog and upcoming events:

http://uproartheatre.blogspot.com/

The Program in Educational Theatre hosts yearly conferences in April for practitioners, artists, scholars, researchers and students who are interested in exploring questions that fuel each year’s conference.  Last year’s conference, The Forum on Theatre for Young Audiences, was convened by visiting professor Tony Graham and brought folks from around the globe to the NYU campus to explore TYA practices in depth. This year’s conference, Developing New Works for the Theatre promises to add to our prestigious succession of world-renowned conference events, and students are strongly encouraged to attend.  Volunteers are always needed at the conferences as well. Information on several unique opportunities to be involved with the event will be published shortly.

We are also moving into the time of year when NYU students look ahead to consider ways in which to be involved with summer courses and projects.  In addition to courses that will be offered on campus, the Program will continue running our award-winning New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series, developing three outstanding new TYA plays.  Students should be on the lookout for upcoming announcements regarding auditions for the staged play readings happening in the Provincetown Playhouse this June.  Students can also take the accompanying three credit course for the series, Theatre Practices: Problems in Play (MPAET-GE.2152-001), which will be taught by Joe Salvatore.  After NPYA ends, the Looking for Shakespeare project will bring secondary students from across the country to the NYU campus to work on and produce a Shakespeare play.  This will be directed by Dr. Nancy Smithner, and the accompanying course for this project will allow NYU students to have practical, hands-on experiences working with the young people.  The accompanying three credit course is called Creating Youth Theatre Productions (MPAET-GE.2982-001) and will also be taught by Nancy Smithner.

The London study abroad curriculum is taking shape with a new initiative in TYA being launched at Rose Bruford College, and with the Heathcote conference at University of Greenwich. Theatre visits to the Globe, the RSC, WestEnd, Unicorn, OilyCart, the fringe and more will also be a part of this program being led by Dr. Philip Taylor. Following the London course, NYU students in Dublin will work with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners and theatre artists, exploring community-engaged theatre with affiliations through Upstate Theatre and the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. Under the leadership of Joe Salvatore, skills to be explored include facilitation, devising, and playwriting/adaptation, along with approaches to using dramatic activities to create context for theatre work. Having just returned from leading the January Intersession program in Puerto Rico with NYU students, I’m happy to report that the Educational Theatre Program continues to be the finest institution in our field for global studies.  Our study abroad programs consistently provide transformative experiences for students, and for more insight into Puerto Rico program, please check out the Theatre Practices in Puerto Rico blog with entries written by Educational Theatre students:

http://nyutheatrepracticespr2013.tumblr.com/

So there’s a lot to look forward this semester, and this summer.  I encourage Educational Theatre students to get involved wherever possible, for the artistic possibilities of collaboration that involve faculty, students, alumni, and guest artists compel explorations that are the best means for achieving artistic growth. I want to thank the top-notch Educational Theatre adjunct faculty, as well as my colleagues Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones for helping launch another exhilarating year in Educational Theatre. Have a great semester everyone!

David Montgomery, PhD

Director, The Program in Educational Theatre